|Hanwha Group's solar beehive at the Korea National University of Agriculture and Fisheries in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province / Courtesy of Hanwha Group|
By Park Jae-hyuk
Hanwha Group has introduced Korea's first solar beehive ― a photovoltaic low-carbon solar beehive that uses electricity generated from solar energy ― to mark the UN's World Bee Day, it said, Thursday.
As the damaging effects of the climate crisis compound across the globe, bee populations, nature's most important pollinators, have been rapidly declining. Through this project, Hanwha said it aims to increase bee populations by maintaining a stable environment for growth while promoting the importance of preserving biodiversity.
In line with its vision for sustainability, the company is responding to the negative effects of climate change by encouraging pollination by bees, which supports the growth of trees, flowers and other plants that absorb carbon dioxide.
Hanwha installed the solar beehive at the Korea National University of Agriculture and Fisheries (KNUAF) as a part of its pilot program. About 40,000 bees that live in the solar beehive will help pollinate the fruit trees on campus and vegetation in nearby wooded areas.
The program will also collect data on bee population growth and activities, which will be used to educate students on campus and conduct further research on bee conservation. To support the initiative, Hanwha signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the KNUAF on May 11.
"The solar beehive will effectively increase the bee population and preserve the species, as it can monitor the growth of the bees in real time and detect diseases and pests immediately," said Kim Hye-kyung, a professor in the department of industrial entomology at the KNUAF.
The solar beehive consists of two parts: a smart internal beehive that controls a growing environment for bees and an external structure that provides electricity to the beehive. The solar panels installed on top of the solar beehive generate electricity used automatically to monitor and control the temperature, humidity, water and food inside the structure.
The beehive also contains a smart system that monitors and controls this data through an app in real time. Prioritizing both the health and safety of the insects housed inside, it can also detect the presence of hornets, a natural enemy of bees, by measuring and analyzing ambient sound. When hornets approach the beehive, the entrance will narrow into a passage small enough that only bees can pass through.